After 15 months since the last physical meeting, a men’s mental health group is returning to Jones’ Cafe in Biggleswade on Tuesday 3 August 2021, from 6pm to 8pm.
Husband and father, Luke Newman, from Potton, Bedfordshire formed ‘For Men To Talk’ in December 2019, to get men talking about their anxiety, depression and grief.
The 40-year-old has suffered for a number of years with grief and anxiety since losing his mother and sister both to cancer.
Already been through counselling and therapy, Luke recognised that there wasn’t any groups for men just simply to talk.
After setting up a Facebook page on Boxing Day in 2019, the first ‘For Men To Talk’ group meetings were held at ‘Jones’ Café’ in Biggleswade in February and March 2020, attracting over 20 to each event, where they talked about anything from football, television, movies, to feelings.
The physical groups were forced to stop at the end of March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and further restrictions, but continued every Wednesday with meetings virtually via Zoom, the virtual conference website, and they will still continue.
“The meetings are very informal”, said Luke. “There are no experts on hand. But leaflets and contact numbers for professional groups, such as the Samaritans, MIND and CALM are available in an Information Corner for those men who recognise that they may need further help.”
“I have been busy since the last physical meeting. Our virtual meetings are going from strength and ‘For Men To Talk’ is now a Community Interest Company. This means its a limited company, which is a benefit to the community. I have also designed and written ‘The Mental Health Moles’ book showing fifty-two storyboards with advice about mental health topics.”
Mr Newman said that he first started suffering from depression after his mother Jen Newman died aged 54 in 2005 and continued after his sister Heidi Melrose died aged 44 in 2015.
“I have struggled. But I feel very fortunate that I have always been able to open up and talk to not only family and friends, but strangers in the street. I know that people, especially men struggle with that. We need to be more open about our mental health.”
The group aims to meet every first Tuesday of the month in the cafe.
‘For Men To Talk’ can be found on their website www.formentotalk.co.uk and social media channels. Luke is also available for any questions on 07709 446480.